Since Fall 2019, there has been a major Antisemitism Education Initiative on the Berkeley campus. It has been coordinated by the Chancellor’s Committee on Jewish Life and Campus Climate, the Center for Jewish Studies, the Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies, Berkeley Hillel, and the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art & Life. Our faculty have worked closely with many administrators across the university to promote awareness. They have hosted workshops for campus staff and students, brought major speakers to campus, penned op-eds in national publications, and created multimedia presentations, including an online module that is now part of new student orientation. This page houses a number of resources for antisemitism education, including recordings of previous speakers’ lectures and podcasts, and news articles on this topic by our faculty.
News and Upcoming Events
UC Berkeley Awarded Major Grant from Academic Engagement Network (AEN) for Pilot Program in Antisemitism Education
AEN Announces Support for Pilot Program on Antisemitism at UC Berkeley The Antisemitism Education Initiative, a pilot program at UC Berkeley, received a $25,000 grant from the national nonprofit Academic Engagement Network, or AEN, on Sept. 10. The initiative was started in spring 2019 by campus history and Jewish studies associate professor Ethan Katz, campus law professor Steven Davidoff Solomon and Rabbi Adam Naftalin-Kelman, executive director of Berkeley Hillel. The program aims to bring together campus stakeholders for training and speaker series to create a larger awareness of anti-Semitism as a contemporary issue, Katz said.
Other articles regarding the AEN grant:
- Jewish Journal: Anti-BDS Group Provides $25,000 to UC Berkeley Anti-Semitism Initiative
- The Algemeiner: Pilot Education Program on Antisemitism at UC Berkeley Receives Funding Boost
Jews and Race
In collaboration with the Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies, Berkeley Center for Study of Religion, and the Graduate Theological Union, the Center for Jewish Studies is pleased to present a series this year on “Jews and Race” that will tackle such challenging topics as the past and present of Black-Jewish relations, the particular and neglected challenges facing Jews of color, and the crucial intersection between antisemitism and anti-Black racism in White Nationalist ideologies.”
- Marva Shalev Marom: Thursday, December 3, 2020 at 4:00pm (Berkeley Center for Jewish Studies, the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion, the Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies, and the Graduate Theological Union)
Lecture and Podcast Recordings
Hatred Old and New: The Roots and Resurgence of Antisemitism
A Panel Discussion: John Efron, Ethan Katz, Ronit Stahl, & Robert Braun (UC Berkeley) Racism against Jews has re-emerged today as a major problem on the Left and the Right — in European and American politics, and frequently on college campuses. What accounts for this resurgence? What has been the historical evolution of antisemitism that helps explain the current moment? What forms is antisemitism taking today? How much is it connected to or distinct from the rise of other hateful ideologies?
Protectors of Pluralism: the Rescue of Jews in the Low Countries during the Holocaust
Robert Braun (UC Berkeley) This book argues that local religious minorities are more likely to save persecuted groups from purification campaigns. Robert Braun utilizes a geo-referenced dataset of Jewish evasion in the Netherlands and Belgium during the Holocaust to assess the minority hypothesis. Spatial statistics and archival work reveal that Protestants were more likely to rescue Jews in Catholic regions of the Low Countries, while Catholics facilitated evasion in Protestant areas. Post-war testimonies and secondary literature demonstrate the importance of minority groups for rescue in other countries during the Holocaust as well as other episodes of mass violence, underlining how the local position of church communities produces networks of assistance, rather than something inherent to any religion itself. This book makes an important contribution to the literature on political violence, social movements, altruism and religion, applying a range of social science methodologies and theories that shed new light on the Holocaust.
UNLIKELY REFUGE: SURVIVORS, AID ORGANIZATIONS AND LOCAL COMMUNITIES IN WWII UZBEKISTAN AND IRAN
Professor Mikhal Dekel (Director of CCNY’s Rifkind Center for Humanities and the Arts) Beginning in September 1941 and throughout the war, Central Asia and Iran became places of refuge to hundreds of thousand of Jewish and Catholic Polish citizens. Mikhal Dekel, whose father was a child refugee in Tehran, will recount the research and writing process of this epic yet relatively unknown Holocaust story, told in her new book Tehran Children: A Holocaust Refugee Odyssey. She will discuss the circumstances that brought her father and hundreds of thousands of others from Poland to the Soviet interior, Central Asia, Iran, India and Palestine and talk about the refugees’ experiences in each locale and the mutual impact of refugees and host countries on each other. Sponsored by Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies
Hate: The Rising Tide of Anti-Semitism in France and What It Means for Us
Marc Weitzmann (Author) What is the connection between a rise in the number of random attacks against Jews on the streets of France and strategically planned terrorist acts targeting the French population at large? Before the attacks on Charlie Hebdo, the Bataclan night club, and others made international headlines, Weitzmann had noticed a surge of seemingly random acts of violence against the Jews of France. In his disturbing and eye-opening new book, Hate: The Rising Tide of Antisemitism in France (and What it Means for Us), Weitzmann proposes that both the small-scale and large-scale acts of violence have their roots in not one, but two very specific forms of populism: an extreme and violent ethos of hate spread among the Muslim post-colonial suburban developments on the one hand, and the deeply-rooted French ultra-conservatism of the far right. Weitzmann’s shrewd on-the-ground reporting is woven throughout with the history surrounding the legacies of the French Revolution, the Holocaust, and Gaulist “Arab-French policy.” Hate is a chilling and important account that shows how the rebirth of French Anti-Semitism relates to the new global terror wave, revealing France to be a veritable localized laboratory for a global phenomenon. The book has provoked widespread debate and acclaim on both sides in both France and the U.S.
In the Name of the Cross: Christianity and Anti-Semitic Propaganda in Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany
David Kertzer (Brown University) Heated debate surrounds the question of the role Christianity and Christian churches played in the Nazi and Italian Fascist demonization of the Jews. This talk brings to light similarities and differences in the Nazi and Italian Fascist uses of Christianity in their efforts to turn their populations against the Jews through examination of two of their most influential popular anti-Semitic propaganda vehicles: La difesa della razza in Italy and Der Stürmer in Germany. Both would mix pseudo-scientific racial theories with arguments based on Christian religious authority, and both would present themselves as defenders of Christianity against the Jewish threat. Yet there were also differences, linked to the different relations each regime had with the Christian churches.
Cold Case in Constantine: Anti-Jewish Violence and the Colonial Situation in French Algeria
Joshua Cole (University of Michigan) in coversation with Steve Zipperstein (Stanford University) Cole’s prize-winning book solves the mystery of the Constantine riots of August 1934, an episode of violence between Muslims and Jews in French Algeria that resulted in the deaths of 25 Jews and 3 Muslims. The murders in Constantine were the most lethal episode of anti-Jewish violence in peacetime in modern French history. Cole argues that we have long misunderstood the violence in Constantine. Contrary to widespread perceptions, it was neither the culmination of ever-growing Muslim-Jewish enmity, nor the rupture that in time led to the end for the two groups’ cohabitation in Algeria. Rather, the murders were the product of specific tensions that arose from both inclusionary reforms on the part of the colonial administration, and right-wing, antisemitic provocateurs who sought to inflame tensions between Muslims and Jews.
Antisemitism Here and Now (RTS 2019)
Deborah Lipstadt and Yehuda Kurtzer On February 13, 2020, renowned scholar Deborah Lipstadt spoke before several hundred students, staff, and faculty about her recent book Antisemitism Here and Now and met separately with a number of student organizations and student leaders on our campus. While it was not possible to record these events, because of how important they remain for our ongoing work here, we have linked this illuminating conversation that Lipstadt had in summer 2019 about her book and contemporary challenges around antisemitism and other hatreds, with Yehuda Kurtzer of the Hartman Institute.
Online Extremism in a Time of Global Pandemic
In this episode, Ahmad Sultan and Vlad Khaykin join us to discuss their work with the Anti-Defamation League combatting hate speech online. They share how their work has evolved during this global health crisis, engaging in their work from quarantine and addressing the increasing prevalence of incidents such as ‘Zoom Bombing’ as we transitioned to a ‘virtual world’ during the COVID19 pandemic. This episode is part of a 14-part series on Israel and Jewish Identity in the age of COVID. The series includes interviews with experts on topics related to Israel and the novel coronavirus through different lenses – political developments, economic impacts, technology and surveillance, trauma and resilience – as well as lessons from Jewish tradition and the virus’ impact on Jewish communal life.
Jews and Race: Identity, Community, and History
Yavilah McCoy is the CEO of the Diversity consulting group DIMENSIONS Inc. Through Dimensions, Yavilah services an international portfolio of clients in the areas of Education, Philanthropy, and Social Justice. As an anti-racism activist with an international platform, Yavilah provides training and consulting to numerous social justice projects that span multiple identities and communities. Yavilah serves on the steering committee of the national Women’s March and has been a core part of many large-scale national movement teams, bringing a uniquely intersectional perspective to the ongoing work of racial justice and collective liberation. Yavilah is a pioneer of the Jewish diversity and equity movement and is an advocate and mentor for the empowerment of a transglobal community of Jews of Color. Yavilah was an inaugural recipient of the Spielberg Foundation’s Joshua Venture Fellowship and directed the launch of the “Ruderman Synagogue Inclusion Project” for Combined Jewish Philanthropies and the Ruderman Family Foundation. Yavilah also directed the Bronfman Philanthropy’s Curriculum Initiative in Boston, where she provided educational consultancy to 600 prep schools across the nation. Yavilah was voted one of “16 Faith Leaders to Watch” by the Center for American Progress in Washington, DC, is a certified coach for the Auburn Theological Seminary’s Pastoral Coach Training Program and an inaugural fellow of the Sojourner Truth Leadership Circle. Yavilah is a renowned national speaker, educator, and spiritual practitioner and in celebration of the musical traditions passed down to her from three generations of her African-American Jewish family, is also the writer, producer and performer of the Jewish Gospel theatrical production “The Colors of Water.”
This event is part of a series on Jews and Race during the 2020-2021 academic year, a collaboration of the Richard S. Dinner Center for Jewish Studies at the Graduate Theological Union, the Berkeley Center for Jewish Studies, the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion, and the Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies.
News Articles and Interviews on Antisemitism by Our Faculty
Antisemitism: Here and Now
CJS Director John Efron Interviews Deborah Lipstadt about her New Book, Antisemitism: Here and Now Even before the horrific murder of eleven worshipers at the Tree of Life synagogue, violence against Jews in this country was rising sharply; 2017 saw a nearly 60 percent spike in incidents over the year before, the largest single-year increase on record according to the Anti-Defamation League. Where is all this hatred coming from? Is there any significant difference between left-wing and right-wing anti-Semitism? What role has the anti-Zionist movement played? Deborah Lipstadt, the award-winning author of The Eichmann Trial and Denial: Holocaust History on Trial, joins John Efron, Koret Professor of Jewish History at U.C. Berkeley for an in-depth conversation on the hate that will not die and what can be done about it. Click HERE to watch the interview.
Far more unites Black and Jewish Americans than divides them
Opinion by Ethan B. Katz and Deborah Lipstadt
(CNN) In recent weeks, we have witnessed several anti-Semitic statements and postings by prominent black athletes and entertainers like DeSean Jackson, Stephen Jackson, Nick Cannon and Ice Cube. (All but Ice Cube have since apologized.) These have unfolded in the shadow of an outpouring of diverse support for the Black Lives Matter movement, which has undertaken arguably the most significant struggle for racial justice of the past half century.
Why Calling Anti-Semites ‘White Nationalists’ Actually Gives Them Cover
Opinion by John Efron
The mass murder of Jews at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh came as a shock. However, for anyone paying attention, it did not come as a surprise. And therein lies the problem. All too few have been paying attention to anti-Semitism. Continue reading…
UC Berkeley Social Sciences Conversations: The State of Black-Jewish Relations in America
Interview with Professor Ethan Katz, UC Berkeley In this interview, UC Berkeley Professor Ethan Katz speaks to Assistant Dean Christian Gordon about the state of Black-Jewish relations in America and his recently published CNN article on this topic, co-authored with Deborah Lipstadt. Katz also discusses fascinating parallels between Jews and Blacks in America, and the subject of his first book- Jews and Muslims in France. Click HERE to watch the interview